Guadeloupe: Health, Safety
Mosquitoes are always found in the tropics and, during rainy periods, they tend to be the most bothersome. In addition to their standard itching bites, mosquitoes may transmit nasty diseases such as dengue, chikungunya and malaria. The most reliable defense is a liberal application of personal repellent, particularly at dawn and dusk. Other defenses include locally available plug-in and burning coil devices that help to repel mosquitoes both indoors and out.
Outside of the rarely seen fer-de-lance snake on Martinique, there is not much in the way of really dangerous land critters in the French West Indies. The Manchineel tree (le Manceniller) puts out a highly toxic sap. You should never stand under one in the rain or taste its little green berries. These trees are usually marked with red paint by the locals.
As you travel about Guadeloupe, you may spot bright red sandcrabs and vividly spotted lizards. While they certainly get your attention, they are no more dangerous than their less colorful counterparts.
In shallow coastal water, watch out for sea urchins, sharp coral and jellyfish. Always wear fins (palmes) when snorkeling and ask the locals about swimming and diving conditions before you go in the water.
Swimming in fresh waters in the tropics may lead to exposure to certain parasitic diseases. Check with locals regarding the current safety of ponds and rivers in Guadeloupe.
EATING AND DRINKING
Some large reef fish may contain toxins that can cause serious symptoms if ingested. Check with locals before eating fish that you have caught yourself. The tap water is drinkable in most places and excellent local bottled water is available in stores and restaurants.
Medical care is modern and widely available in Guadeloupe, including hospitals, clinics, ambulance services and doctors. Remember that most medical professionals are French-speaking only.
AIDS is a factor throughout the world. Remember to practice safe sex.
For tropical storm information: wunderground.com
For US State Dept. travel advisories and information: travel.state.gov
For Caribbean travel health advisories: cdc.gov
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